The white Vellfire on Gunma Prefectural Road No. 2 is surrounded by a peaceful countryside. The sun was shining softly through the car window. But the driver, Tsuyoshi Ichihigashi (62), is not. 62 (62), who is driving the car, has a stern expression on his face. He is the president of a love hotel group (“Hotel SERA Group”). Hotel SERA Group The business situation of the love hotel group (“Hotel SERA Group”), of which he is the president, is not looking good due to the effects of the new coronavirus. Ichihigashi is angry as he grips the steering wheel.
“It seems strange that business hotels and inns are getting support money while we are not getting any subsidies. …… I’m not sure what to think. I think it’s because the government takes a subjective view of things, saying, ‘The sex industry is shameful. We are not doing any illegal work. We are running our business legally according to the rules of the country. I don’t understand why we are being discriminated against.
VELFIRE left the prefectural road and went to a love hotel run by Ichigami. The hotel, located in the city of Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, is not a building, but a “one-room, one-garage” type of hotel with one-story shacks neatly lined up on the premises. The hotel is said to be very popular because there are no corridors or elevators to meet other guests. At his office, I talked to Mr. Ichihigashi about the “Covid-19 recession and the management of love hotels” (hereinafter referred to as “Ichihigashi”).
“Due to the impact of Covid-19, the number of customers has decreased by up to 50% and sales by 30%. The government does not provide any support, but they want us to pay taxes. We can’t do anything about it.
Ichihigashi is a famous businessman in the love hotel industry who was once known as the “tiger. 01 Year 01 October 2001 The show was launched in October 2001 and has had a viewer rating of In the past, he was known as the “tiger. He often appeared in the popular TV program “Money Tiger” (Nippon Television Network Corporation. (Nippon Television Network Corporation, hereinafter referred to as “Money Tiger”). It is an investment variety show where entrepreneurs explain their business plans and the “tigers,” the investors (managers), decide whether to invest or not. The show ended in March 2004. (The show ended in March 2004).
Formerly in Pink Lady’s backing band
How did Ichihigashi become the “darling of the love hotel industry”? First of all, let’s look back at how he got into the industry.
“I was born in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture. After graduating from high school, I passed an audition for a record company. I was in the backing band for Pink Lady. However, I had no intention of continuing it as a job. I felt like I was selling out my skills. …… .
I quit after about a year and started working part-time at a hamburger store. The president there was very enthusiastic. He talked enthusiastically about the company’s management even to a part-timer like me. That’s when I started to develop a strong interest in management. That’s when I started to have a strong interest in management.
In order to succeed as a manager, Ichihigashi thought about industries that would match the near future. The future is a car society. Automation is advancing, and there will be fewer opportunities for people to interact with each other. Since we are investing in real estate, we need to 24 hours 24 hours a day 365 The ideal is to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If possible, I would like to create a chain of stores. …… I’ve been thinking about it for a while.
“The first thing that came to mind was motels in the suburbs of the United States. This is the first time I’ve seen such a thing. 365 days a year. I thought it would be open 365 days a year, and once it got off the ground, we could open more stores.
Ichihigashi is 23 years old. Ichihigashi joined a love hotel management company at the age of 23, and learned the know-how as a manager and business manager. He started his own business when he was 34. at the age of 34. He started his own business at the age of 34.
“The first thing I looked for was a love hotel in a rural area that was in financial trouble. At the time, the bubble economy had just burst. At that time, just after the bubble economy collapsed, there were a number of hotels that were on the verge of bad debts. Most of the blame lay with the management. They were sitting on top of the bubble economy and were delivering towels and toothbrushes at the vendors’ prices.
I was I was in my 20s. As a consultant, I used the know-how I had learned in my twenties to advise the company presidents to keep the prices of delivered items reasonable and to avoid wasting money. This led to an improvement in profits within a month. If he was that good, they began to entrust him with more and more of the management.
“Get angry, get angry.
Ichihigashi thoroughly eliminated waste. The best example of this is the interior and electrical work that he undertakes himself.
“If you ask an architect or designer to do the interior of a single building, it can cost several hundred million yen. If we do it ourselves, we can save 10 million yen. If we do it ourselves, we can do it for 10 million yen. There is no need to make the interior magnificent. As long as users can tolerate it, we should prioritize cost reduction even if it is amateur work.
I also taught myself the electrical route. If I outsourced the installation of the light switch at the bedside, I would have to spend several hundred thousand yen. If you do it yourself, the cost of purchasing the panel 5,000 If I do it myself, I only have to pay 5,000 yen for the panel. We insisted on doing it ourselves and set a lower hotel rate for it. Other companies’ hotel charges are 7,000 yen to to 8,000 yen. Other companies charge 7,000 to 8,000 yen, but we charge about 4,000 yen. We are able to keep the cost down to about 4,000 yen.
Employees are instructed to gain knowledge of interior decoration and electricity. We are getting a lot of money from the bank for acquisition of properties. We had borrowed about 1 billion yen from the bank to acquire properties. We had borrowed about 1 billion yen from the bank for property acquisitions, etc., but we have been able to consistently raise the annual amount to 300 million yen. 350 million yen a year. The company sold about 350 million yen a year and gradually paid off the debt. The number of stores has also increased to a maximum of seven, mainly in Gunma Prefecture. The number of customers exceeded 80,000 pairs per year. It was at that time. That’s when he received a request from “Money no Tora” to appear on the show.
“I received an email from the producer in charge. He asked me to apply my management techniques, which enabled me to increase the number of stores after the collapse of the bubble economy, to the program. The other actors (managers called “tigers”) were AV The other performers, or “tigers” as they were called, were all people with strong characters, such as Mr. Ganari Takahashi of the AV manufacturer Soft On Demand and Mr. Hiroshi Kawahara of the ramen restaurant Nanden Kanden.
When the staff listened to the entrepreneurs who were hoping for investment from “Tiger,” they urged them to “get angry, get angry. Most of the entrepreneurs’ stories lacked specifics and were more like ‘ideas’ than business plans. I was dumbfounded before I got angry. I’ve never invested in a single entrepreneur.
I’ve never invested in a single entrepreneur. …… I was admonished by the staff. I guess my stance didn’t fit with the program’s policy. In the end, I was on ‘Money no Tora’ for less than a year.
Even after his appearance, the management of the love hotel was going well. He introduced the latest systems, including a free smartphone application. If there was a problem, such as the shower not working, the employees could share who was working on the problem and how much progress was being made.
“If you ask a contractor to take care of a problem, they’ll probably say, ‘We’ll come back in five days. If you ask a contractor to take care of the problem, they will say, ‘We’ll come back in five days,’ and during that time, you have to close the room, which means no revenue. If an employee takes care of it, it can be fixed within the day. It would be reasonable.
“The sex industry is a sham.”
20 In April 2008, Ichigaya was planning to open a new store. But …… I’m sorry. At the same time, the Covid-19 infection spread rapidly. Not only was the plan thwarted, but the number of customers suddenly dropped off.
“We had prided ourselves on our ability to survive the recession because of our low pricing, but we couldn’t beat Covid-19. Normally, heavy users choose cheap hotels. But since Covid-19 made it impossible for them to go out, they decided to splurge on an occasional stay, so they started using love hotels with higher prices.
The policies of the national and local governments have also taken a toll. The government and local governments have also been hit by the policy of providing some kind of subsidy to the inns, but no support for love hotels.
“For example, Gunma Prefecture is offering a ‘Love Home Campaign’ to its guests this year. October Aigo Campaign” from October this year. For example, Gunma Prefecture has been offering cash back of about 5,000 yen per night to guests since October this year as part of its “Aigo Campaign. For example, Gunma Prefecture has been offering about 5,000 yen per night as cash back to guests as part of its “Aigo Campaign” since October this year. In some cases you can stay for less than 1000 yen. In some cases, you can stay for less than 1000 yen. However, this is only for business hotels and inns. Not only are we not getting any benefit from this, but we are also losing out on users.
We have contacted the Diet members and prefectural assembly members several times, but our voices have not reached the general public. Some of the lawmakers talked about it in the assembly, but the ruling party didn’t take it up with them because they said that the sex industry is unacceptable. It is not only the inn industry that has been affected by Covid-19. Why is there no support for us? I don’t understand why our ‘right to life’ is being taken away because of occupational discrimination.
The state of emergency has been lifted, and the number of customers has finally stopped dropping. However, it is far from a recovery in profits. At present, they are managing to make ends meet by drawing down the savings they had set aside to open a new store in April last year.
If we don’t do something, we’ll just sit and die,” he said. If we continue like this, we will just sit and die. I have no choice but to do something on my own. Now I am preparing to challenge the world of politics myself.
Ichihigashi’s winning strategy for love hotels, tossed about by Covid-19 and politics. The “Money Tiger” is now seeking to change the policies of the national and local governments with his own power.
(Honorifics omitted in the text)
Photo by： Takashi Yamazaki